Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb - Descend to Mweka Trailhead - 6,000 ft
Trip Day 10 - Climb Day 8
Morning came, and despite my still moderate appetite, I was feeling pretty good. This morning we tipped the porters in a group pool, and then individually tipped porters and assistant guides who we felt did an extra special job for us personally. I tipped each of the assistant guides (KP, John and Humphrey), my personal porter (Penda), the main comfort guy for our tent in camp (Raymond), and the other two guys that assisted Raymond on our tent. I don't know what their names were but I figured everyone else was going to tip the two water guys (Frank and ?) so I wanted to tip the other guys that probably might get overlooked but did a good job. The tipping process was a little bit disorganized but I managed to get it all in. After camp was broken down the guides and porters all got together to sing a group song and say goodbye and thanks. We took a group shot with everyone and then started off on our final 4,000 ft descent. Apparently I had forgotten to tell them that I don't do stairs as the final section of trail was nothing but endless stairs almost the entire way. 9,000 ft the previous day was fine but the last 4,000 ft on the stairs was just not my cup of tea. At one point I slipped on a wet stair, planted my poles hard and struggled to maintain my balance. I was studying my pole to see if I had bent it when I realized that my right knee hurt and that I had slightly twisted it. I made it down the rest of the way without incident but my knee hurting slowed me down considerably.
The end of the trail was a welcome sight and we waited prior to the end so we could all walk down together as a group. At trails end we got in line to receive our summit certificates, and once again the guides/porters had timed things perfectly. We were first in line to get our certificates and set up lunch in a prime location in the only grassy area around. Down at 6,000 ft I had a little more appetite back and actually managed to eat a reasonable amount of food at lunch. An ice cold Coke sufficed for now to wash the trail dust out. After lunch we said final goodbyes to everyone and loaded up into the Range Rovers and headed off to the Moivaro Lodge.
The Moivaro Lodge is a nice resort set back a couple of miles off of the main road between Kilimanjaro and Arusha. Oh my god were my legs sore after the ride to the lodge. My knee was throbbing and my thighs felt like they were going to fall off. I was first to use the shower and enjoyed the usual pleasures of a hot shower and shave after a long trip. The group wanted to do some souvenir shopping in Arusha so we loaded up into the Range Rovers and set out in quest of doo-dads. The first place we went was the Cultural Heritage center, a gigantic tourist trap in Arusha. I was stellarly unimpressed as the prices of things for sale were outrageously expensive by American standards much less Tanzanian standards. I was looking for a good "I Climbed Kilimanjaro" t-shirt but had no luck at all finding something suitable. Some of us suggested that we wanted to find a good t-shirt shop somewhere else and so we went to another place in downtown Arusha. I came up bust again for a t-shirt I liked but some of the others found things they liked so it was worth the stop. Back at the lodge we had some beer (ahhhh) and then had our celebratory dinner. My appetite was back with a vengeance now and I dug hard into everything they put in front of me. After dinner we took a group picture, those of us on the climb only tipped Ben and Noel, and we hit the sack. No cards tonight. I would have slept fine but my GI tract woke me up several times during the night for another round.
|The porters and guides sing and dance for us on the last morning together||Group shot with the guides and porters. I've got my arm around my porter Penda|
|The cooks break down the cook tent for the last time||Nobody said anything about freaking stairs|
|Bonei greats us at trails end||Mark at the end of the trail, 6000 ft|
|Of course there is time for one last lunch||I actually ate a little food here|
|Our hut at the Moivaro Lodge||The Moivaro Lodge|
|Group shot at the Moivaro Lodge||I guess it gets a little buggy here|
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